Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


48th Annual Convention; Boston, MA; 2022

Event Details

Previous Page


Paper Session #544
Exploring the Role of Autoclitics in Developing Verbal Behavior
Monday, May 30, 2022
3:00 PM–3:50 PM
Meeting Level 2; Room 255
Area: VRB
Chair: Thom Ratkos (Berry College)
I Think This is the Title: Evoking Descriptive Autoclitics in Adult Subjects
Domain: Basic Research
THOM RATKOS (Berry College)
Abstract: The text Verbal Behavior was an extension of basic principles to largely untested areas. While there is a rapidly growing body of research and effective practice based on Skinner's approach, there remains large portions of the text that describe functional relationships which have not been demonstrated. The least studied verbal operant, the autoclitic, describes a great variety of responses which serve to modify some other primary verbal response. In an experiment, participants were exposed to visual stimuli that were minimally, moderately, or heavily distorted. Participants emitted autoclitics (e.g. "I think it's a ___") to modify their tacts of the visual stimuli under control of the salience of the stimuli. These empirical results will be examined in comparison with Skinner's interpretation of the functional control of autoclitics described in Ch 12 of Verbal Behavior and alongside a review of recent and historical work on autoclitics that appears to define them topographically rather than functionally.
Relational Autoclitics and the Topology of Morphological and Syntactic Verbal Responses
Domain: Theory
ROBERT DLOUHY (Western Michigan University)
Abstract: A series of papers at ABAI annual conventions in recent years offered interpretations of Skinner's relational autoclitic of order (Dlouhy, 2016-2021; Skinner, 1957). These interpretations argued that an relational autoclitic of order (RAO) is an operant that sequences verbal responses. The positions of responses in the sequence evoke specific autoclitic effects on the listeners. As such, RAO operants are useful for a behavior analytic account of syntactic phenomena as they account for consistent sequences of complex verbal responses, classes of sentential constituents, and classes of responses that occur in specific positions. Although the RAO seems to provide a behavioral analytic account of syntax, it must be noted that morphological responses (words) may be complex and emitted within consistent sequences of responses (affixes) that evoke autoclitic effects. This paper will argue that complex morphological responses are products of operants similar to RAOs, and discuss the interplay between morphological and syntactic responding that accounts for syntactic topological classes. Examples from several languages will be provided.



Back to Top
Modifed by Eddie Soh